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Raymarine forum - Getting acquainted with Quantum

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I’m getting familiar with my new Quantum wifi-only radar, paired with an es78 MFD. I have a few questions not addressed in the manuals.

1. I have the Quantum powered through a manual 12 volt on-off rocker switch. Can I turn the radar off by using the power switch instead of going through the MFD’s stand-by, then power-off sequence? Or would shutting the power off manually be disruptive to the software or hardware of the radar or MFD?

2. The manual (p. 263) indicates that I can adjust the transmit frequency of the Quantum (high, normal, or low.) I believe I was once able to do so, but now that control is greyed out for me, regardless of other settings or the radar’s status. The difference possibly occurred after I did a factory reset of the MFD to clear all settings. I have software versions 17.45 for the MFD and 1.46 for radar. (I know there are later versions, but they appear to only address wifi connectivity issues.) Any idea why a can’t change frequency anymore?

3. The radar is fantastic for nearby targets, but are there any tricks or adjustments for extending its maximum usable range for smaller targets? My unit is mounted 8 feet up and level to the water with an unobstructed view. On a calm sea and clear day, I have a hard time picking up small 20-30 ft center console boats in plain sight visually when more than about 1.5 miles away. Same for 30-40 foot sportfisher boats more than 2.5 miles away, and yacht sized vessels more than 3.5 miles away. I’ve already tried turning up gain, reducing the sea clutter filter, using target “expansion,” and turning on “trails” so that I can identify small targets that don’t show on every sweep. Is there anything else to try, and is this performance about typical?

Thanks.
Welcome to the Raymarine Forum Dove,

Q1. I have the Quantum powered through a manual 12 volt on-off rocker switch. Can I turn the radar off by using the power switch instead of going through the MFD’s stand-by, then power-off sequence? Or would shutting the power off manually be disruptive to the software or hardware of the radar or MFD?
A1. While Raymarine's radar transducers featuring a magnetron should be shut down by commanding the radome or open array pedestal into to standby mode before switching off power, no such recommendation applies to the the solid state design of Quantum radomes.

Q2. The manual (p. 263) indicates that I can adjust the transmit frequency of the Quantum (high, normal, or low.) I believe I was once able to do so, but now that control is greyed out for me, regardless of other settings or the radar’s status. The difference possibly occurred after I did a factory reset of the MFD to clear all settings. I have software versions 17.45 for the MFD and 1.46 for radar. (I know there are later versions, but they appear to only address wifi connectivity issues.) Any idea why a can’t change frequency anymore?
A2. The feature which you have described had been intended to be used if one had been experiencing interference on the Radar picture. The Transmit Frequency
setting would be used to change the transmission frequency range of the Radar. On the 1/2NM range and all ranges below 1/2 NM the Radar application always use the nominal Transmit Frequency. At such ranges, the TRANSMIT FREQ menu option will be greyed out. The TRANSMIT FREQ menu option should be available on 0.75NM range and above.

Q3. The radar is fantastic for nearby targets, but are there any tricks or adjustments for extending its maximum usable range for smaller targets? My unit is mounted 8 feet up and level to the water with an unobstructed view. On a calm sea and clear day, I have a hard time picking up small 20-30 ft center console boats in plain sight visually when more than about 1.5 miles away. Same for 30-40 foot sportfisher boats more than 2.5 miles away, and yacht sized vessels more than 3.5 miles away. I’ve already tried turning up gain, reducing the sea clutter filter, using target “expansion,” and turning on “trails” so that I can identify small targets that don’t show on every sweep. Is there anything else to try, and is this performance about typical?
A3. This is quite atypical performance. Have you changed the Mode (MENU->MODE) to Coastal or Offshore? Have tried adjusting the range to something which is closer to the distance to targets observed?
Thanks, Chuck. With regard to extending usable range offshore, yes, I'm in Offshore Mode and using a range scale appropriate for the target distance.

To further maximize detection offshore, I've been doing the following:
set Target Expansion to On,
use the smallest range scale which would show an intended target,
change gain from Auto (which seems to put it at 75%) and increase the gain to 87% - 90% where spurious targets just begin to show,
set Trails to On with a 10 second duration, allowing me to distinguish between random spurious targets and actual faint targets which may not appear on every sweep, but appear at the same screen location as their trail, and
change the Sea Clutter filter from Auto (which is usually between 5% - 10%), and reduce it by about 3%.

Testing yesterday with these settings on a calm sea and clear sky, with the Quantum 8 feet above and level to the water, I was able to see the tall office buildings of downtown Sarasota, FL out to 20 statute miles before they faded out. I'm also able to see birds at close range and occasionally pick up small styrofoam crabtrap floats.

Small fiberglass fishing boats, such as 20 - 30 foot center consoles with T-tops, are still not detectable until 1.5 statute miles as I motor toward them using a 2 mile range scale. Same for sportfisher size boats at 2.5 miles and yachts at 3.5 miles. I get similar results tracking targets with the MARPA function in that they are lost at the same distances. It seems as if fiberglass boats are not very reflective of radar energy.

If you spot anything that I should do differently or try, let me know. The only thing I haven't yet tried is the frequency setting to see if higher or lower frequencies might have further range. But based on further research, it seems as though this performance might be typical of small radomes, and especially for low power solid state units. For instance, I found a couple of tables published by another manufacturer showing expected broadband radar performance. In one, "small vessels of length to 10 m" had a detection range of 1.6 nm with the radar antenna mounted 3 m high. Another table showed a detection range for "small power or sail boats" of 0.7 - 2 nm with an antenna height of 13 feet.

Several independent reviews of the Quantum conclude excellent long range performance based on actual screen shots. On closer examination though, all of the distant targets are land-based structures and not ships. So, I don't want to conclude that there's anything wrong with my unit or what I'm doing with regard to ship detection unless you spot anything or more conclusive evidence appears from users or reviewers.

Thanks again, and apologies the such a long post.
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